For Fans Of
Brisbane band Violent Soho are back with their signature straight-forward and measured punk on ‘Hungry Ghost’. Violent Soho, if you are not already familiar with them, sound like they have just jumped right out of the 90’s punk scene and frequently are, almost unavoidably, compared to the grunge greats, Nirvana.
‘Hungry Ghost’ is full of anthemic repetition and recurring growls, which occasionally deliver unrestrained aggression, but for the most part are used to add emphasis. Most people who know of Violent Soho would be familiar with their knockout tracks ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ and ‘Muscle Junkie’, but they are now going to have to be prepared to share the same appreciation for just about the entirety of this album.
It begins with ‘Dope Calypso’, which spends a good half of a minute holding back, and then launches into the simple punk and unabashed vocals of Luke Boerdam. The song is a back and forth between holding back and letting loose, until holding back is abandoned so the band can just keep it coming. ‘Dope Calypso’ sets up the sound, and the give and take just described, of the album very well. It ends flawlessly with a selection of overlaid vocals that are left to hold their own when the instruments cease.
‘Covered in Chrome’ is definitely a standout track, along with ‘In The Aisle’, among the greatness, and arguably, is the best track on ‘Hungry Ghost’. It is the infectious chants of “…yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…” over and over, which make you want more and more. The back and forth between these moments and the other, more pared back ones, just amplify the effect. The verses in particular are very minimal, as opposed to the blazing punk that is unleashed around them.
‘Saramona Said’, very early on, sets itself up for a kick in and even though it can be felt fairly early, and is alluded to with each repetition of “let’s start a fire”, it remains anticipated for most of the song. The extensiveness of the waiting and building however, is outweighed once it comes, with the satisfying (regardless of how short) punk chants and instrumental burst.
The only flaw in the album really, is ‘Fur Eyes’, a slower song that is a bit weaker than the others. At first thought, the song seems to show that taking down the pace is clearly not something the band excels at, as the song falls a bit flat. However, when the group returns to taking it slow in title track (and final track), ‘Hungry Ghost’, they somehow redeem themselves by getting it right. There is also a great instrumental about three quarters through to look out for, which delivers a similar sentiment to that explored in Radiohead’s ‘2 2 = 5’.
The band have really raised the bar with this album, not to say that Violent Soho’s back catalogue is at all disappointing, but simply, ‘Hungry Ghost’ just has such consistent quality. Almost every song on this album is at the same standard as previous hits from the band, ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ for instance. Did somebody say “Australian album of the year”? Fair call. It’s not far from it.
1. Dope Calypso
3. Covered in Chrome
4. Saramona Said
5. In The Aisle
6. OK Cathedral
7. Fur Eyes
8. Gold Coast
11. Hungry Ghost